The Chicago Fed national activity index was negative 0.78 in March, up from negative 1.28 in February, according to the Chicago Federal Reserve. All four broad categories of indicators made negative contributions to the index in March.
The three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to negative 0.86 in March from negative 0.92 in February. The negative value suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend. In addition, March marked the fourth consecutive month that the three-month moving average was very near or below the negative 0.70 threshold. A CFNAI-MA3 value below negative 0.70 following a period of economic expansion indicates an increasing likelihood that a recession has begun.
With regard to inflation, March’s three-month moving average indicates low inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.